After all this time spent on the internet, I realised just today that I’ve never really introduced myself. I just strolled in, started reading, and, at some point, joined the conversation.
Let me try this again.
Hi, I’m Julia.
I have spent my life, on average, somewhere hovered over the Atlantic Ocean, between the United States and Germany. I grew up in North Carolina as a misfit little German, playing ball of all kinds, swimming, and competing in Tae Kwon Do and equestrian sports. And, most of all, watching and growing up steeped in women’s soccer.
Actually, I was far more musically gifted than athletically, but I have always loved being outside and the high of hearing the wind (or water) whistling in my ears. The voice lessons never stood a chance to a saddle or a soccer ball.
It’s probably a mercy, but I don’t remember much about being a kid. I was socially awkward, interested in trivia, and a stickler for rules.
All dreams of competitive sports ended with a series of knee issues and time pressures, plus the costs of living and college tuition. I hung up my cleats and bowed out of sports… for, like, two entire seconds.
Following my very informal retirement and initial repulsion toward sports, I slowly but surely began circling around…
An exercise physiology & physiotherapy apprenticeship.
Becoming a trainer.
Studying sport science.
Studying psychology and neuroscience.
Becoming a strength and conditioning coach.
Internships in athletic departments.
Researching athletic performance from a psychophysiological lens.
Becoming an Assistant AD in a private sector facility.
Regular continuing education and collaboration.
A master’s degree in sport psychology.
A research position at the Deutsche Sporthochschule Köln.
Building a training and consulting company built off these experiences and principles.
And now, building a brick-and-mortar performance centre out of a gym here in Köln, among many more things to come in 2019.
I was going to stay in sports no matter how hard I tried to get away at first, and I took that social awkardness, attention to detail, and tenacity into making these big, research-focused, overly complex fields of sport science and psychology into usable methods for developing better athletes.
My experiences as an athlete, as a patient in recovery, in return to play, and then as a practitioner, coach, researcher, and psychologist inform literally every step and decision I make when working with athletes. I am absolutely driven by providing services to athletes who would not otherwise have access to it, and helping them develop for their lives, as well as for sport.
In ten years, I hope to have built White Lion and the RheinGym Performance Centre into two athletic performance machines in the US and Germany, where athletes can still get personal, respectful, and relevant coaching that drives them forward. I will also stay in the field of sport psychology, where I research the psychophysiology of performing under pressure, and how we can help athletes not “choke”.
Stronger Minds. Faster Bodies. Better Humans.
I really mean that.
And, honestly, I wish I had access to a coach who believed in that when I was a young athlete too.
We have such a unique opportunity to develop athletes as people; physically, mentally, and personally. They deserve our respect, our attention, and our investment. They are not disposable. They are valuable, and they should get the best.
That’s my mission and my passion.
At the end of the day, I don’t think I can ever leave sport. I think it, especially women’s soccer, will always reel me back in.
I’m okay with that. It gave me so much of what I have.
I want to give back.
Anyway, that was long. Thanks for listening.
It was nice to meet you!